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(By G. Andrews Moriarity, Jr., A. M., Boston, Mass.) 
One of the most prominent families of Lower Norfolk county 
during the 17th century, was that of Emperour, and, although it has 
long been extinct in the male line, its blood, transmitted through 
females, still flows In the veins of many prominent Virginians and 
the name still survives as a given one among many of the old 
families of Norfolk and Princess Ann. 

The original name appears to have been De Keyser and its first 
members in England were Dutchmen, who, driven out of the Low 
Countries at the time of the Spanish rule, settled in the Walloon 
Colony that flourished in Norwich in the 16th century. The Norwich 
records state that "Guilielmus De Keyser, lanificus, cum uxore et 
sex pueris, quorum unus hie natus est, et cum ancilla, ex Brabantia 
hue venit anno 1561." In 1567 a John de Keyser came to Norwich 
from Flanders and in the town records the name is called "de 
Keyser anglice Emperour." The records of the Dutch Church at 
Norwick baund with references to the De Keyser, Lempereur and 
Emperour family, as the name is variously spelled. In 1584, a 
Francis Emperour, "from the dominions of the King of Spain," is 
noted as living in Norwich; and in 1653 a Francis Emperour, a 
tobacco merchant, was residing there. 

With regard to the Virginia family the late E. W. James, Esq., 
collected considerable data, concerning its members, in his admirable 
publication, "The Lower Norfolk Antiquary," but further investiga- 
tion upon my part revealed so much new data, including very 
valuable information which I discovered at Barbados that I have 
decided to throw my notes into a regular pedigree form, as follows: 

I 1. Emperour. 

Probably of Norwich England ; and perhaps the son of the Francis 
Emperour, who was in Norwich in 1584, as having recently arrived 
from the dominions of the King of Spain. He had at least four 

2. Elizabeth married Horbin of Barbados. 

3. Sarah married 1st Edward Oistin of Christ Church Barbados 
and 2ndly William Leigh or Lee. 


4. Capt. Francis of Lower Norfolk Va. 

5. John of St. Michael's Barbados. 

II 2. Elizabeth Emperour, probably born in England. Married 
Horbln of Barbados, probably the brother of Joseph 

Horbin of St. Michaels parish, a rich Barbadian planter, who owned 
estates In Jamaica and South Carolina and whose wife was related to 
the Seabury family in New England. 

Elizabeth Horbin removed to Princess Anne County Virginia 
and made her will there on 30 December 1693, proved 4 November 
1696. She calls herself "late of Barbados, but now of Princess 
Ann Co. Virginia." She bequeathes to her cousin Elizabeth Ramsden 
daughter of "my sister Sarah Lee in Barbados" and to my cousins 
Elizabeth and William Ramsden, children of my cousin Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Ramsden;- to my loving cousin, Mr. Francis Emperour, and 
his son, Francis; to my loving cousin Mrs. Sarah Emperour, wife of 
my cousin Francis Emperour; to my loving friend and kinsman 
Mr. Tully Robinson and makes my loving cousin Mrs. Sarah Em- 
perour my executrix. She states that her Barbadian property is 
in the hands of Thomas Shearman and Joseph Hough at Barbados. 

II 3. Sarah Emperour married, at Christ Church parish, Barbados, 
on 1 March 1659, Edward Oistin gent., son of Edward Oistin, gen- 
tleman of Christ Church parish, an early magistrate there in 1629. 
Oistin's Town and Oistin's Bay, in Christ Church parish, derive 
their name from this family, whose estates lay in the South West 
part of the parish on the coast. Edward Oistin died in 1669 and 
she married secondly William Leigh at St. John's parish, Barbados, 
on 3 August 1670. 

Issue by her first husband: 

6. Elizabeth married 1st Henry Ramsden of Christ Church Barba- 
dos and 2ndly Miles James of Christ Church about 1701. 

7. Edward. 

8. Sarah married her cousin, Francis Tully Emperour, of Lower 
Norfolk, Va., on 25 September 1679, at Christ Church, Barbados. 

II 4. Captain Francis Emperour. Born about 1628, died 1662. 
of Lower Norfolk Co. Va. He appears to have come to Virginia about 
1650 and on the 20 January 1650, Thomas Marsh gave him a 
Power of Attorney. On 15 September 1652 he was given a certificate 
for 300 acres for the transportation of himself, Mary Emperour, 
Charles Emperour and others Into the Colony. On 15 August 1661 
he was granted land for the Importation of Elizabeth and William 
Emperour and Marcus Tully, while on 21 November 1673 his widow, 
Mary, received land for the importation of herself, Capt. Francis 
Emperour, William Emperour, Elizabeth Emperour, Markus Tuly 
and Wanny, a negro. 


Capt. Francis Emperour settled on the Eastern Branch of the 
Elizabeth River in Lynnhaven Parish in Lower Norfolk and was 
a prominent Merchant and Master Mariner there, while he also 
owned a large landed estate. He was a Commissioner for Lower 
Norfolk County from 15 October 1652 to 15 February 1659 and on 21 
December 1652 was sworn in as High Sheriff of the County. He 
appears to have belonged to the Puritan party then very strong in 
Lower Norfolk and Nansemond Counties and negotiated, as is shown 
by certain documents, on file at Portsmouth and dated 19 November 
1656, with "Mr. Moore, Minister of God in New England [Long 
Island], when he was last at ye Mannadus" [i. e Manhattan], 
concerning his coming to Virginia. On 25 November 1655 he signed 
a letter to Capt. Thomas Willoughby relative to the procuring of 
a Puritan minister for Lynnhaven. 

The records of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, show that in July 
1656 he was at Boston, probably on a voyage; for, on 15 July 1656, 
he translated certain Dutch documents from New Amsterdam, for 
the use of the Massachusetts Court, in the case of Gerardy vs. Kilvert; 
thus confirming the fact that the family was of Dutch origin. On 
17 November 1656 he sued Daniel Lane, of Salem, "Mr. of the 
Ketch Dolphin," in the Lower Norfolk Court, for damage done his 
goods on a voyage from Boston to Virginia (evidently his return 
trip, after his stay in Boston, during the summer of 1656). He 
states that the ketch sprang a leak off Nantasket and that they had 
to put into Plymouth to refit. In this deposition he calls himself 
"aged about 28 years." On 16 November, 1658 his voyage to the 
Indies is mentioned. These entries make it certain that he was 
a merchant of Puritan tendencies, who traded with New Amsterdam, 
New England and the West Indies. 

Besides the offices already referred to he was Surveyor and Col- 
lector of the Western Shore of Lynhaven on 1 November 1653 and 
Collector for both the Eastern and Western Shores and for Little 
Creek on 19 November 1656. His Inventory was taken on 14 June 
1662 and I cannot but consider it very significant that his tenure of 
public office ceased in 1659, just at the close of the Puritan rule 
in England. 

His wife, Mary Emperour, was beyond all doubt a Tully of the 
Eastern Shore family of that name. Two of their sons were called 
Francis Tully and Tully Emperour, respectively, and Mary Em- 
perour calls Tully Robinson her nephew. Mary Emperour, like the 
Oistins in Barbados, was a Quaker and was frequently fined for 
attending Quaker meetings. Her will, dated 20 April 1676, proved 
3 July 1676, mentions her sons Francis, William and Tully Emperour, 
her daughter Elizabeth Phillips and her three cousins [nephew 
and neices] Tully, Elizabeth and Mary Robinson. 


Issue : 
9. Francis afterwards Francis Tully. 

10. Tully. 

11. William. 

12. Elizabeth married — Phillips. 

13. (?) Charles probably a son. Alive 15 September 1652; prob- 
ably died without issue before 20 April 1676. 

II 5. John Emperour of St. Michael's parish [1. e. Bridgetown] 
Barbados. He Is mentioned, on 15 December 1657, by his brother 
Capt. Francis Emperour in a case before the Lower Norfolk Court, 
where he states the amount of sugar dispensed by him at Barbados 
for meat for a ship in which Capt. Francis was part owner. Among 
the Barbadian deeds at Bridgetown I found one of 4 August 1656, 
wherein Lieut. Benjamin Reade of Barbados conveyed to Mr. John 
Emperour of the same Island, his interest in four new servants, etc., 
together with 4,945 lbs. of good well cured muscovado sugar. This 
is all I have been able to find about him. He must however have 
been married and had issue, at least, two children; for there is no 
other place to fit in Thomas and Martha Emperour of Bridgetown, 
Barbados, except as his children. I therefore assume that he had 

14. Thomas of St. Michael's. 

15. Martha married at St. Michaels Cathedral Bridgetown on 22 
June 1673 Thomas Farle. 

III 9. Francis Emperour, gentleman, later called Francis Tully 
Emperour of Lower Norfolk and Princess Ann Counties, Virginia, 
and Christ Church parish, Barbados. Francis Tully Emperour was 
born probably about 1655 and resided principally in Lynnhaven 
parish. He was a Justice of Princess Ann in 1691-93. He appears 
to have been a large planter and merchant and his title of "gentle- 
man" indicates his position in the County. His place, which he later 
sold to the trustees of Thomas Walke's estate became famous as 
"Fairfield," the seat of the Walke family in Princess Ann County. 
His large estates in Virginia lay in Lynnhaven parish, but he also 
acquired, by marriage, extensive estates in Christ Church parish 
Barbados. He appears to have resided both in Virginia and in Barba- 
dos, but chiefly in the former colony. In 1696 the Princess Ann Court 
found him to be temporarily deranged. His will, on file at Princess 
Ann, is dated 26 May 1698, proved 20 July 1711. He leaves all his 
property to his son, Francis, and, in the event of his death, all his 
estates in Virginia were to go to the children of Tully Emperour 
and his estates in Barbados to the children of Henry Ramsden by 
Elizabeth Oistin. All the executors were gentlemen in Barbados. 

(To be Concluded)